In my production farm, we are running both full backups via Backup-SPFarm as well as backups of the databases from SQL Server. We are trying to determine if what we are doing is redundant and if doing something like running a weekly full Backup-SPFarm with daily differentials would still keep us covered in a recovery scenario. With that being said, what is the difference between SQL server database backups and backups executed via Backup-SPFarm? Are they both just database backups or is there enough of a difference between them to warrant running both of them side by side?

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Backup-SPFarm not only backs up the databases, but also exports configuration settings from the Config database (which cannot be restored). This would include things like Web Application objects. In addition, it backs up various Search settings.

That said, most companies I deal with go just for database backups (sans Config, Admin, Usage). It's usually sufficient and you get more control over how you're backing your databases up. Of course, a Backup-SPFarm -ConfigurationOnly backup can't hurt.

  • So @TrevorSeward if I understand correctly, use SharePoint to backup the configuration but let SQL Server handle the backup of the databases?
    – Psycho Bob
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:22
  • Yep, that's probably what I'd do depending on how automated you made your initial SharePoint deployment and any subsequent changes.
    – user6024
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:23

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